Here we go again

A classic multiculturalism scare story without substance, now honed to a fine art. This time, Ben Elton is the stooge:

Ben Elton has said the BBC is too “scared” to broadcast jokes about Muslims for fear of provoking radical Islamists… [he] added that the broadcaster would “let vicar gags pass but would not let imam gags pass”.

I’ve dealt with the difference between vicar gags and imam gags before (though I can’t seem to find the appropriate comment at the moment). Vicars are inherently more funny, especially to the British mind-set which sees more humour in taking the piss out of the familiar, than the exotic.
The other strand to the story is the second-guessing among well-meaning yet ultimately clueless decision makers. The story here is not “muslims can’t take a joke” or even “BBC thinks muslims can’t take a joke” but the ridiculous third degree of separation: “Ben Elton thinks that the BBC thinks that muslims can’t take a joke.” Is this what passes for discourse now?
As an aside to all this, may actually be the case that taking the piss out of minority religions could actually signify integration an acceptance, rather than intolerance.

2 Replies to “Here we go again”

  1. Sadly, Rob, I do think that “so-and-so thinks that so-and-so thinks such-and-such about so-and-so” does pass for discourse in a lot of places — and so what does that say about us? It depresses me.
    Personally, I think it’s brave and progressive for large broadcasters to address these topics. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently produced a sitcom called “Little Mosque on the Prairie”. From the Wikipedia entry: “While the show does derive some of its humour from exploring the interactions of the Muslims with the non-Muslim townspeople of Mercy, and the contrast of conservative Islamic views (held primarily by the characters of Baber and Fatima) with more liberal interpretations of Islam (as represented by Amaar and Rayyan), at its core the show is essentially a traditional sitcom whose most unique trait is the simple fact of being set among an underrepresented and misunderstood cultural community. Nawaz herself [the show’s creator] has stated that the show’s primary agenda is to be funny, not to be a political platform. She has also stated that she views comedy as one of the most valuable and powerful ways to break down barriers and to encourage dialogue and understanding between cultures.”

  2. Agree with the last sentence, anyone with a brain realises that taking the piss is actually a sign of group acceptance, the po faced PC brigade in particular seem incapable of understanding this.
    “Vicars are inherently more funny, especially to the British mind-set which sees more humour in taking the piss out of the familiar, than the exotic.”
    Have to disagree, fear of causing “offence” to anyone exotic means that vicars and other familiar aspects of indiginous culture are about the only thing comedians dare take the piss out of these days (jokes about gays, women, all cultures except white christianity all countries except the US/UK, and all forms of illness/disability) are off limits. It’s not a coincidence that the rise of PC has coincided with a fall in the quality and quantity of humour in UK culture. The last thing that was genuinely funny on TV was the office and that was only broadcast as it was “ironically” un PC.

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